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Cytosine methylation and mammalian development

Biomedical Sciences Research Institute Computer Science Research Institute Environmental Sciences Research Institute Nanotechnology & Advanced Materials Research Institute

Walsh, CP and Bestor, TH (1999) Cytosine methylation and mammalian development. GENES & DEVELOPMENT, 13 (1). pp. 26-34. [Journal article]

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DOI: 10.1101/gad.13.1.26


Programmed methylation and demethylation of regulatory sequences has been proposed to play a central role in vertebrate development. We report here that the methylation status of the 5' regions of a panel of tissue-specific genes could not be correlated with expression in tissues of fetal and newborn mice. Genes reported to be regulated by reversible methylation were not expressed ectopically or precociously in Dnmt1-deficient mouse embryos under conditions where demethylation caused biallelic expression of imprinted genes and activated transcription of endogenous retroviruses of the IAP class. These and other data suggest that the numerous published expression-methylation correlations may have described not a cause but a consequence of transcriptional activation. A model is proposed under which cytosine methylation represents a biochemical specialization of large genomes that participates in specialized biological functions such as allele-specific gene expression and the heritable transcriptional silencing of parasitic sequence elements, whereas cellular differentiation is controlled by conserved regulatory networks that do not depend on covalent modification of the genome.

Item Type:Journal article
Faculties and Schools:Faculty of Life and Health Sciences
Faculty of Life and Health Sciences > School of Biomedical Sciences
Research Institutes and Groups:Biomedical Sciences Research Institute
Biomedical Sciences Research Institute > Molecular Medicine
Biomedical Sciences Research Institute > Molecular Medicine > Transcriptional Regulation & Epigenetics
ID Code:21718
Deposited By:Professor Colum Walsh
Deposited On:02 Apr 2012 10:53
Last Modified:11 Dec 2012 14:42

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